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Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Self says Sprint Center ‘great’ for college basketball

August 4, 2004

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Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes said Tuesday's vote in favor of a downtown arena was "a huge victory for Kansas City."

Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self would have to agree.

"I think it's great for Kansas City and certainly basketball fans in this area that support Missouri, K-State or the Jayhawks," said Self, who realizes a vote in favor of the proposed Sprint Arena means Big 12 Conference and NCAA Regional Tournaments will be headed K.C.'s way in the future.

"I don't know if they can draw the NBA or not -- that I do not know," Self said of KC attracting a pro basketball team to the new Sprint Center, an 18,000- to 20,000-seat arena which is expected to open in 2007, "but I do think they can definitely draw major attractions to the city, and that's a plus for everybody."

The arena vote was running about 60 percent in favor, 40 percent against as of 10 p.m. Barnes clamed victory in the issue about 7:30 p.m.

No doubt radio spots and newspapers articles quoting Self, plus Kentucky's Tubby Smith, Missouri's Quin Snyder, Illinois' Bruce Weber and Hall of Famer John Wooden helped sway some voters in favor of the taxes on rental cars and hotels that will help pay for the Sprint Center, which will also include a College Basketball Hall of Fame.

"If we ever want to lure a professional hockey team, if we ever want to lure a pro basketball team ... if we want different events years down the road, everybody will benefit from this at some point in time," Self said.

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Schedule update: KU is hoping to release its men's basketball schedule sometime this week. The schedule will likely include all but one game as the Jayhawks seek an opponent to play Dec. 11 in Kemper Arena.

The annual Kemper game is included on the season-ticket package this year, giving KU 19 home dates.





"We're still working out some TV stuff and starting times and some late changes," KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said. "In all likelihood, unless something happens we will likely release the schedule indicating we still have to get one more game."

The Kemper opponent will likely be against a mid-major -- the type of team that doesn't require a return game.

Much has already been revealed about the schedule.

KU will play home exhibitions against Emporia State on Nov. 7 and Washburn on Nov. 14. Regular-season home games will be contested against Vermont, Nov. 19; St. Joseph's, Nov. 23; Nevada, Nov. 29; Pacific, Dec. 4; TCU, Dec. 8; South Carolina, Dec. 18 and Georgia Tech on Jan 1. KU also will meet Wisconsin-Milwaukee at home, a to-be-determined foe at Kemper and eight conference foes at home.

The conference schedule hasn't been announced, but it is known the Jayhawks will conclude the regular season at Missouri for the fourth straight season.

The formula of playing the first game at home and second at Mizzou has worked well for KU the past three seasons, KU winning in both in Lawrence and in Columbia, Mo.

KU will play ESPN Big Monday games at Texas Tech and Oklahoma this season and entertain Missouri in its only home Big Monday game. The Jayhawks' season-opening conference foe will be against Texas A&M at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Cost of ducats: KU officials have mailed season-ticket renewal forms. The cost is $760 for its 19 home games, or $40 per contest.

Last year's prices were $35 and $32, depending on location. This year location will be determined by a priority points system based heavily on donations to the Williams Fund.

Regardless of points, it will now cost a husband and wife, for example, more than $1,700 for season tickets if they also add the $10-per-game parking fee.

There is a $25 handling fee this year, up from $15 last season.

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